I love an adventure. I’d call myself a thrill seeker.
Learning to kite-board in Cozumel, whale watching off the Baja coast, and fire walking during a sacred ceremony in the mountains of West Virginia are just a few of the times I felt excited and alive. And I love to feel alive. Yes, sometimes that crazy wild thrill seeker in me has gotten herself into trouble. Like the time I took my mother’s car for a joy ride before I knew how to drive and couldn’t get the car back into the garage without scratching and denting it; or the time I tried a double black diamond ski run in the Swiss alps as a novice and ended up spinning my way down on my butt so fast that people could only get out of the way; there’s my failed red hair experiment…
But my biggest trouble happens when I’m couch surfing…
There are times when I go to Africa in my mind and all I have to show for it is the overwhelmed, disappointed state I’m in on the other side of the planet. I can get lost in a wishful daydream so fast, my disappointment is already flooding through me before I realize what happened.
Not too long ago I watched a documentary about a Guru who took several disciples on a motorcycle journey through the Himalayas. I loved it. I could just see myself there–wild and free on my motorcycle, all decked out in all the cool riding gear. I looked pretty bad-assed as I made my way through those ancient villages. I was stopping to meet the locals. Drinking hot Yak Butter tea. Meditating and receiving the special teachings from my Guru. WOW.
And then the overwhelm arrived. How do I even get that much time off work? How would I afford to pay for it? I don’t even know how to ride a scooter, let alone a motorcycle so how was I going to navigate the narrow, winding snow covered roads at 29,000 feet?
And those questions sparked more questions. I was starting to feel upset. I cannot afford to take a trip like that. How would I keep my healing practice going if I was away for several months? Would my husband come with me? Then who would watch our poodle, Winston the Wonder Dog, while we were away? What if I injured myself while I was there? Did Blue Cross Blue Shield cover me in the Himalayas? Did they even have hospitals there? Or would I be spending three months recovering from my broken leg atop a mountain with a mix of herbs and dung stuck to the wound?
Back on the couch in my living room…
I felt sad and disappointed and somewhat land locked. I realized it was totally impossible to live that dream right now. Has that ever happened to you? You exhaust yourself on the wishful daydream about the adventure and then realize its totally impossible to achieve in the life you’re in currently and then you feel sad and disappointed and somewhat hopeless.
We see something that inspires us and for a moment we live vicariously through the lives and stories of other people. While this could serve as an amazing catalyst for our own adventures, the imaginings become so big in our heads that we exhaust ourselves into a bummed out non-action state.
I had a session with a client the other day who told me life had passed her by.
She was depressed and felt overwhelmed at the prospect of making any changes. She’d been trying very hard to make herself feel filled up by the lives of her husband and children but confessed that borrowing the happiness of other people just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
I asked her what she’d love to do if she had some time and space for herself to explore this further. She said, “What does it matter? I can’t leave now, I am totally entrenched in my life here!”
We do this to ourselves a lot. We get an opportunity to name what we’d love; to imagine forging a new path, and instead of jumping on it, we say, “What’s the point of trying when I know it’s impossible for me to do right now?”
So what’s the point?
Life offers itself to our imagination and it’s up to us to fill in the blanks of what gets our blood pumping. Only we can know what would make us rip those sheets off in the morning and greet the day with eager anticipation. We’re here for our own joy. That is the point of it all.
Don’t get so literal about your day dreams. They’re symbolic images. Your feeling about the imagined adventure is the important part. Pay attention to the feelings you have. Memorize that feeling. This impression is the inner state your spirit is asking to feel.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create the feeling on a daily basis in mini, bite-sized chunks that feel doable while you’re landlocked, and totally entrenched in your life.
You’ve got to learn to decipher your daydreams…because sometimes motorbiking through the Himalayas with friends and a Guru is really code for something else. Sometimes wishful daydreams come to remind us that there’s an inner adventure seeker who wants to come out and play and you need to figure out what will bring you that feeling while still honoring the life you’re in.
Listen to the inner voice. Don’t just poo-poo on those ideas, because you’re too busy or too broke or the kids make it impossible. You deserve better than that. If you listen, you’ll realize that fun doesn’t just come from fire walking, bungee jumping, or living in a hut along the Amazon teaching English to the locals. You can feel exhilarated and alive while trying a new recipe or going on a bike ride down a new street in your neighborhood, or learning how to play Xbox.
Hugs and love to you, my fellow adventuring friend! Rock this day like you mean it.
p.s. a portion of this post first appeared in Wild Sister Magazine recently, and they asked me to tell you that.